Grants given for preservation of Japanese American confinement sites

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LOS ANGELES (CNS) – The Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles and the Anaheim Public Library were awarded grants from the National Park Service to fund educational projects related to the detainment of Japanese Americans by the U.S. government during World War II, it was announced today.

The NPS announced that more than $1.5 million in Japanese American Confinement Sites grants would be distributed throughout the country for educational, preservation and restoration projects.

The projects will help tell the story of the more than 120,000 Japanese Americans, two-thirds of whom were U.S. citizens, who were imprisoned by the U.S. government following the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941.

The Japanese American National Museum will create an exhibit based on the diaries and letters of Stanley Hayami, a teenager who served in the U.S. Army’s 442nd Infantry Regimental Combat Team and was killed in action while his family remained incarcerated at Heart Mountain in Wyoming.

The Anaheim Public Library’s “Anaheim Japanese American Heritage Project” tells the stories of Japanese and Japanese-American families that settled in Anaheim, establishing farms and businesses, in the early 1900s. Their children attended elementary schools and Anaheim High School.

In 1942, those families were forcibly moved to the Poston Relocation Camp in Arizona and incarcerated there until the end of World War II. Anaheim librarians aregathering the stories of the families and their experiences before, during and after their incarceration.

“Using both traditional and innovative techniques, we are working with communities and partner organizations to preserve an important part of our nation’s history,” said National Park Service Deputy Director P. Daniel Smith. “More than 75 years later, new generations of Americans can use these resources to learn the struggles and perseverance of Japanese Americans incarcerated during World War II.”

Congress established the Japanese American Confinement Sites grant program in 2006 and authorized a total of $38 million in funding for the preservation and interpretation of associated sites. The grants are awarded to projects linked to the 10 War Relocation Authority centers, which were established in 1942, and more than 40 additional confinement sites.

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